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January 23, 2015

***Received comments:

***1/23 al_zorra: "Pretending things are not what they are / were, destroys all sorts of integrits, and makes literature study irrelevant because one is studying phony content."

Further in the NYTimes piece: the word "rigger" was annotated, giving its meaning and other information about riggers.

The text has since been returned to what Faulkner wrote, including use of a similar word which begins with n.

***1/23 don_fitch: "I was a bit vexed by your assertion about non-native-French-speakers in France... until I realized that you'd said "cities". I suppose there are still plenty of villages and towns that have few or no Tunisian, Turkish, British, or other immigrants.

"Mind you, West Covina (here in California, mostly south of Covina) might possibly have a minority of native-English-speakers by now. In the Best Buy computer store, the other day, I was impressed by the child-like Enthusiasm displayed by four stocky Asian guys in their late 20s (I'd guess) as they played with various computer stuff. The were marvelously tattooed (in both area & quality) and each had at least one finger-joint missing. I was tempted to go over and ask them whether they were Yazuka [sic] (Japanese Mafia, approximately) or Seriously Dedicated Actors, but decided against it because actors can get dangerously temperamental."

1/23 thnidu: "Yikes.

"(Yakuza, not Yazuka. Doesn't rhyme with ;bazooka'; closer to "J'accuse".)"
Thursday January 22, 2015 According to the Minnesota Daily (the U's student paper,) the Governor and others want to rebrand Minnesota as part of "the North" rather than "the Midwest." The change would supposedly make Minnesota more attractive to businesses and workers who might be looking for a place to move.

This kind of word magic has a long history. for example, the naming of Greenland.

***Picked up 6 Linux books being held at Southeast Library. One of them turns out to be useful.

***Installed Chromium (non-proprietary variant of Google's Chrome browser.) So far, I like it better than the current version of Mozilla Firefox.

***ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholic and Otherwise Dysfunctional Families) meeting. This was the annual Group Conscience meeting. Mostly discussing and voting on decisions made in the last business meeting (held after a regular meeting); but with a bit of other business.

***Forthcoming book: "Political scientists John Ferejohn and Frances Rosenbluth's TUG OF WAR, tracing the evolution of modern democracy through centuries of warfare, concluding that, even today, democracy might need war to ensure its very existence..." From Publishers Lunch's daily newsletter.

***comment from al_zorra,: "O my goodness -- I literally just finished the last edits and revisions to the Faulkner section of my annual essay on the previous year's most significant reading!

"I was reading along in what you had quoted and came full stop at 'riggers,' because that isn't Faulkner. I knew it immediately".

[So did I, and I hadn't read Faulkner in years.]

***don_fitch (don_fitch) replied to a comment left by don_fitch (don_fitch) in your LiveJournal post ( The comment they replied to was:

"'Oooh, I _like_ that bit about statistics of birth re. May Day... and the practical reasons (-"it's too cold to screw in the woods on May Day"-) for them.'

'And yeah, I don't like to consider myself Alien to any or many non-sociopathic groups ...but for some reason a whole lot of the things Computer Geeks consider "helpful" are things I try to turn off as soon as possible. Unfortunately, they also turn off a lot of things _I_ consider helpful.

'(I recently bought a new Macintosh computer. It has a big screen, and was ridiculously expensive. It does not have a way to plug into a telephone land-line to connect to the internet (or for highest-speed transmission via Usenet). It does not have a way to read, directly, CDs. It does not allow dropping documents into open windows but requires doing it into Icons, It does not do several other things that it used to do well & conveniently. Despite the presence of a Learning Curve, I expect to move to PCs in the future.)'

Their reply was: "Oops! I seem to have hit 'Send' before mentioning that, yeah, many, many of the 'helpful' features on computers nowadays are annoying, at best."

[As were "helpful" features on older computers.]
Tuesday January 20, 2015

***"The collection contains 'A Rose for Emily,' a Faulkner story often taught in high schools, probably because it’s among his simplest. I must have skipped class that day, because the tale of Emily Grierson, who poisons the suitor who will not marry her and then sleeps next to his corpse, was new to me.

"After I finished I wanted to know more, as readers do, and so I turned to that great resource, the Internet, in the hopes of illumination. And there I saw that Rap Genius, a start-up that has received a lot of funding to annotate lyrics and other texts, had tackled the story. The text was reprinted, and there were annotations throughout.

"None were particularly interesting. Then I saw this, the moment when the suitor comes on the scene: 'The town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks, and in the summer after her father’s death they began the work. The construction company came with riggers and mules and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee — a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss the riggers, and the riggers singing in time to the rise and fall of picks. Pretty soon he knew everybody in town.'"

***Comment from Lee Gold: "On 1/20/2015 1:36 PM, Daniel S. Goodman wrote:

'I mentioned on-line that Quebec City had the highest percentage of native French speakers of any city. -"Outside of France, of course,"- someone said helpfully. No.'

"This seems to rely on folding 'French' and 'Quebecois' in together as dialects of the same language. I suppose it's defensible, but I'm not absolutely sure the French Academy would agree."

To the best of my knowledge, they do.
On a myth of British history:

"The behaviour of young people on May Eve and May Day had thus become a cliché of scandal and of titillation alike. It took until the late twentieth century, and the patient labours of demographic historians, to reveal that there was in fact no rise in the number of pregnancies at this season, in or out of marriage. The boom in conceptions came later in the summer. In practice early modern people seem to have found the night of the 30 April generally too chilly, and the woods generally too damp."
Ronald Hutton. The Stations of the Sun: a history of the ritual year in Britain. Oxford University Press, 1996. p. 229.

***Saturday January 3, 2015. Seen at the Van Cleve Park ice hockey rink: a man on skates, pushing a baby in a stroller. Also a woman holding a toddler up by his arms; both on skates.

***Sign: "End of year sale." More than 360 days early.

***"Careful dog," I said. "I bite." The dog owner’s companion then explained to me that the dog didn’t bite.

People hear, or read, what makes sense to them. Sometimes they understand the words, but take it for granted that something which makes sense to them was meant.

Example: I mentioned on-line that Quebec City had the highest percentage of native French speakers of any city. -"Outside of France, of course,"- someone said helpfully. No.

***Tuesday January 6, 2015. Cold enough that ice formed on my beard and mustache.

***Wednesday January 7, 2015. Colder yet. Minneapolis schools closed. St. Paul schools didn't, but there were excused absences.

***Got a computer!
Free Geek Twin Cities refurbishes used computers, replacing Windows with Xubuntu (a Linux variant.) I bought a Toshiba Satellite laptop.

Free Geek is in a mostly-industrial part of Minneapolis; one which has other quirky nonprofits and businesses, such as Barebones Puppets.

When I got home, started re-familiarizing myself with Linux.

And began tweaking various programs to my taste. Mostly turning off "helpful" features such as word completion.

***Thursday January 8, 2015. Warmer.

I bought a balaclava at Thrifty Outfitters (part of Midwest Mountaineering.)
Thursday December 18, 2014. Seen: "Silent Night" rewritten to make it more Christian. Posted at the Willey Hall bus shelter.

***Had venison chili for lunch, thanks to Waite House.

Friday December 19. Venison pizza at Waite House.

***To Community Emergency Service for produce giveaway. Brought bags for other people to use.

Monday December 22. Email: "Cute girl wants a normal guy." Doesn't know much about me.

Wednesday December 24. Santa Claus impersonator riding a tall bicycle down Southeast Como Avenue.
From Marty Helgeson 12/14/14

"'Adam and Lilith lived happily ever after. So did Eve and the Snake. Should we classify this group as Christian?'

"You didn't say who/what the group is, not that it really matters. I assume your question was rhetorical."

The only group I've named so far is the Martian Israelites, who present another set of problems.

The group faced with this question decides to refer it to the Religious, Spiritual, and Philosophical Council -- which thereby comes into existence.
"Adam and Lilith lived happily ever after. So did Eve and the Snake. Should we classify this group as Christian?"
Thursday December 4, 2014 Lee Gold: "'The virus which turns humans into werewolves has jumped to squirrels in the Twin Cities.'

"What mass is a squirrel who used to be a 150 pound human?
"What kind of teeth does a squirrel have who used to be a human with fillings and/or dentures?"

Slight misunderstanding. This is squirrels who now become wolves when the Moon is full. Not humans shapechanging to squirrels.
The virus which turns humans into werewolves has jumped to squirrels in the Twin Cities.
Saturday November 15 (more) to Sunday November 23, 2014

Saturday 11/15/14: Forgot to include: Reading by Jason D. Wittman at DreamHaven Books.

I won a prize: a DVD of Planet of the Cats and Revenge of the Mice. Err, Cat People and Curse of the Cat People.

***Thursday 11/20/14 From Lee Gold: "Sunday 11/16/14. World and Future Building MinnSpec meetup at Black: Coffee and Waffles. It worked well, despite my poor planning. (I thought Black would be uncrowded on Sunday. Figured about 5 people would attend, and there were about 13. Acoustics rather less favorable than I realized.)

"It devolved into several conversation groups.

"Note: Black has black coffee, but doesn't seem to have black waffles."

Blackberry syrup? (I may suggest that, but it's only a partial fix.)

"Wednesday 11/19/14. -'Cold Weather Hits All of US,'- Star Tribune story listing, front page.

"So, how well did Honolulu do at snow removal?"

Los Angeles didn't have any snow either.
Or any special cold weather last night.

***Friday 11/21/14: Outdoor Adventure Expo at Midwest Mountaineering. Earned one raffle ticket, entered one prize drawing. Picked up swag, including a device originally designed for cleaning horses' hooves and repurposed for cleaning camping footwear and other equipment.

At a sled dog table, petted a puppy not old enough to pull a sled (nine weeks.) At the "adopt a Siberian Husky" booth, petted a full-grown husky.

***Sunday 11/23/14: Back to the Expo. Attended presentation on Croatia and Slovenia, by someone who conducts tours there. I visited Croatia, back when it was part of Yugoslavia. The presenter's taste was somewhat different from mine. (Not unexpected; he warned the audience about taste differences when he began speaking and showing slides.)

***Bought an exercise device: a thick rubber ring meant for developing hand, finger, and forearm strength and for stress relief.
November 16-19 2014.

Sunday 11/16/14. World and Future Building MinnSpec meetup at Black: Coffee and Waffles. It worked well, despite my poor planning. (I thought Black would be uncrowded on Sunday. Figured about 5 people would attend, and there were about 13. Acoustics rather less favorable than I realized.)

It devolved into several conversation groups.

Note: Black has black coffee, but doesn't seem to have black waffles.

**(Monday 11/17/14. At the Wedge Coop, a toddler and I pretended to menace each other.

Wednesday 11/19/14. -"Cold Weather Hits All of US,"- Star Tribune story listing, front page.

So, how well did Honolulu do at snow removal?

***Decision: Use much more description in writing. Synesthetic, straight sensory, emotional. Starting in January; in fiction, nonfiction, this journal.

Why not start right away? I'm scared.

***At Walker Library, I took out: Richard Kadry, The Getaway God. -"My name is Death. And it appears that I have been murdered."- That's the most interesting passage; unfortunately, it's a teaser for the next in the series.

The nasty old gods who God stole the universe from want to take it back. Which means everyone on Earth, in Heaven, and in Hell will die. Their supporters and opponents include humans, angels, demons, vampires, and four of the five persons God has split into. (The fifth is dead.)

Moderately good story. There's too much background detail explained rather than shown, and too many wisecracks, for my taste. Theological accuracy not guaranteed.

Charles Stross, The Rhesus Chart. Haven't read it yet.
Wednesday November 5, 2014 As I expected, Minnesota's Independence Party has lost major party status.

The party had one real success: Jesse Ventura's 1998 election as governor. The Republican and DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) parties got him elected, by choosing unpopular candidates. (Note: Back then, it was the Reform Party.)

***Freelancers Union Twin Cities After Hours event at CoCo Coworking Uptown.

CoCo's business is one which no futurist or science fiction writer predicted (to the best of my knowledge.) It provides a place for people to plug in their computers and work together. Or to work alone. They provide free coffee and tea, and there's a kitchen.

There were about 13 people at this After Hours. Largest group: people with computer-related skills. Second largest: writers, editors, copy editors, etc. Some attendees were both.

A dog attended part of the meeting, but did not give its profession.

There was an agenda, set nationwide for November After Hours. Formal (sorta) discussions were followed by socializing.

I believe some connections were made at the meeting.
For a while after the Soviet Union fell, "USSR invades America" novels were still appearing in bookstores. I doubt they sold well. As for the ones almost ready for submission....

On the other hand, some Warsaw businesspeople used their new freedom to sell an exotic American delicacy -- bagels.

It pays to keep track of trends which might affect your product. A couple of suggested sources:
reprinted from, Twin Cities After Hours Hive
Wednesday October 22, 2014. Christian werewolf romances. Hmm; a how-to article on writing a non-existent fiction genre might be fun to do. But just in case, I googled.

And there are actual Christian werewolf romances.

Later, I tried vegetarian werewolf romances. They exist. (Presumably the werewolves are lacto-ovo-vegetarian; that is, they eat eggs and milk products.)

***Wedge Coop Annual Meeting, in the event center at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church. Fortieth anniversary.

Not enough attendees for a quorum, as usual. Minutes for last year's meeting couldn't be approved. But voting was mostly by mail, paper ballot at the grocery, or online.

The food, catered by the Wedge's catering service, was good.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain, James H. Fallon, 2013

Fallon, who had investigated the brains of psychopaths, accidentally looked at a scan of his own brain. Guess what it showed.

Another relative's genealogical research turned up several murderers and others who did the kinds of things psychopaths are inclined to do.

Fallon doesn't have a significant criminal history. He's in a long-lasting marriage, and otherwise is more stable than he thought people with such brains were capable of being. He does exhibit some psychopathic traits; enough to disturb some people, and make his life less than optimal.

Informative. I'm skeptical about his speculations on why having a certain percentage of psychopaths in the population is useful to society. Otherwise, recommended.

If I'd read this last year, I would've felt superior about his failure to recognize his psychopathic traits. (He'd had little hints such as test results, and comments from colleagues.) But this year, I found out I had depression.
9/22-9/26 2014

***Sunday September 21, 2014 Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers. Scott Lynch spoke and answered questions.

Most interesting to me: the convoluted series of accidents which resulted in his first publication(s).

***Tuesday September 23, 2014. From World Building community on Google Plus:

" We are manufacturer & Exporter of stainless steel Handrail & balustrade and Architectural Hardware products from India.
We would be happy to supply customised product and OEM as per requirement of the client."

***Thursday September 25, 2014. Snow White and the Seven Satyrs. One is named Gropy, another Squeezy. But what are their other names?

Adult Children [of alcoholic and otherwise dysfunctional families] Anonymous meeting.

***Friday September 26. 2014. To Community Emergency Service for their produce giveaway. Brought bags for others to use, as I've done the last few times. Also a wounded briefcase, and a laundry basket.

A little girl was pushed a stroller around. I pretended to sit down in it, for her to push me around.
Saturday September 20, 2014

***Dan Goodman @dsgood Sep 18

What would you expect a synesthesia coach to do? #synesthesia #writing

Bill Detty @BDetty Sep 19

@dsgood Human being, or conveyance?

Dan Goodman @dsgood

@BDetty Human being.

Bill Detty @BDetty

@dsgood Darn. Okay, she trains you to optimize your nontypical sensory perceptions. Useful in some sports that may not exist yet. And sex.
20 Sep 2014

@dsgood, September 25: Actually, synesthesia can be useful in physical activities -- including for sports which already exist. I find mine useful this way.

I gather that women are much more likely to have synesthetic responses to sex than men.

Bill Detty @BDetty Sep 20

@dsgood Sudden thought: service animals for the synesthesia-impaired.

***Book sale at Southeast Library. I bought one book: "Quotationary."

***To the Wedge coop grocery. Signed up for the Annual Meeting.
Thursday September 18, 2014:

***From Denny Lien, Sept. 17:
d-lien University of Minnesota

[On becoming less hampered by depression]
"Keep at it."

***"For your amusement, you might want to check out David Gerrold's story in the current Sept/Oct MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, 'The Thing in the Back Yard.' It begins:

"'That pesky Dan Goodman is not a bad person. He has a good heart. He's well-intentioned. And I just might kill him anyway.'

"(I assume this is a different Dan Goodman, since as far as I know you've never been in the habit of finding domiciles for homeless half-trolls.)"

Thanks. I think it was Matthew Tepper who called my attention to the series.

***The Minnesota Daily (U of MN student paper) had an article on a store two blocks from my home: PFFTmpls.

PIFFmpls, a one-stop shop for streetwear needs, opened Labor Day, and it consigns luxury shoes and clothing from brands like Versace, A Bathing Ape, Gucci and Hugo Boss.

Its self-described "curator" and owner, Ben Alberts, said though the store’s stock is now split evenly between shoes and apparel, Alberts is looking to expand to art, prints and fixed-gear bicycles.

Alberts said the boutique is always looking to pick up "fresh kicks" from people hoping to sell or trade near-mint street-savvy regalia, rare finds and items released in limited collections.

But PIFFmpls only deals in what Alberts described as "deadstock" brand-new items or apparel worn only once or twice.

***Attended Adult Children Anonymous meeting.
Catching up a bit:

Still dealing with the re-diagnosis from ADD/ADHD to depression. One thing I'm doing differently is reminding myself that "___ isn't worth doing" (or worth doing right now) may not be accurate.

Am concentrating more on using my senses (including synesthetic ones) to help memory and thinking.

Doing more meditation. Haven't found the best method for me.
Thursday August 21, 2014. Some businesses are more bureaucratic than any government I've encountered. Walgreens drug chain is among them.

Missed two calls saying my prescription was ready to be picked up. I don't have a prescription at Walgreens. Tried to call back, so they could correct their mistake and call the right number.

After enduring a commercial, I was allowed to go through a maze to the pharmacy department and wait.

Waited, waited, waited. Gave up. Tried again several more times.

Sent email to Walgreens headquarters, filling out their complaint form.

***Attended Adult Children Anonymous meeting.

***Friday August 22, 2014. A soon-to-open store in my neighborhood has a window sign saying "sneakers/apparel/lifestyle." They probably won't literally sell lifestyles. Found myself thinking about a store which would.

I probably wouldn't buy a lifestyle from a store whose window display includes issues of Life Sucks Die magazine.
Thursday August 14, 2014. Adult Children Anonymous -- got my eight-year medallion.

***On the bus home, a large group which included some with cat whiskers painted on their faces boarded. Turned out they were returning from the International Cat Video Festival.

***The August issue of Chess Life has an article on Fritz Leiber's chess-related sf and fantasy stories.

***Friday August 15, 2014. I usually wish the classical music announcers on KSJN talked much, much less. However, this was Leon Theremin's birthday. Turns out he was a Soviet spy, along with his other work.

***Saturday August 16, 2014. Mnstf (Twin Cities sf club) meeting at Scott and Irene Rauns. Good meeting.

***Sunday August 17, 2014. Reread Melissa Scott's Conceiving the Heavens -- a book on writing science fiction, published in 1999. Included was a bit of speculation about electronic currency. I suspect Ms. Scott didn't expect it to arrive just ten years later.

***MinnSpec (Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers) meeting at the Uptown Lunds supermarket. Topic: Emotional Manipulation of the Reader. I suspect the topics brought up could be used for at least six panel discussions.

I brought the (not(yet?)) official MinnSpec Library for its first outing. The library was, so far, six books on writing which I hadn't read in a while. One got taken out.

***Wednesday August 20, 2014. Birthday of H. P. Lovecraft and Jacqueline Susann.
Wednesday August 13, 2014 Berlin Wall anniversary

Night the Wall went up, I was listening to Radio Moscow news. But it was next day before I found out what had happened.

The newscaster kept explaining Why This Step Was Necessary. And I kept waiting to find out what that step was.

***"Turn of the century charm," real estate ad in a neighborhood paper. Someone hadn't noticed the 20th century is over.

***To Waite House for monthly NAPS (Nutritional Assistance Package for Seniors), and for twice-monthly produce giveaway.

The produce giveaway is preceded by a presentation. This time, on sugar in bottled drinks. You might be surprised to learn that sodas and energy drinks have unhealthy amounts of sugar.

We were urged to sign up for a "sodacation." Refrain from drinking sodas with sugar between August 17th and September 2nd. Participants to get a choice of free items at the end; with drawing for a grand prize the following week.

I signed up.

***Seen from bus on the way home: a stilt-walker with butterfly-like wings. Part of a local health expo.
Happy Birthday, kit_r_writing!